BECHTELSVILLE, PA (June 29, 2021): Kyle Larson demonstrated his mastery of the third-mile oval carved out of a hilltop about fifty years ago. He captured his fourth PA Speedweek win in five years at Grandview Speedway and, to do it, he had to chase down one of the hottest drivers in Pennsylvania. Plus, he had to keep another challenger at bay in the middle stage of the race.
“I definitely had to earn that one,” Larson said in victory lane. “I felt good in the beginning, but not so good in the middle, and then the bottom came in.” Larson explained that he could hear Danny Dietrich behind him, that he saw him, and that he felt him on his right rear when they were fighting for second. But a caution changed things for Larson. He found the rubber and was able to pass the leader from the start, Brent Marks, who slid up out of the groove in turn four.
Dietrich agreed that the caution played a big part in the outcome of the race. “We got rolling there in the middle of the race. I was maybe a lap away from passing Kyle, Maybe I used my stuff up in the middle of the race.”
Anthony Macri had the pole for the 35 lap Hodnett Cup named in honor of the nine-time winner in 410 Sprint competition at Grandview. Next to him was the hottest commodity in PA Sprint Car racing right now, Brent Marks. Paul McMahan and Christopher Bell, the defending race winner, were in row two. Larson and is Califonia pal, Rico Abreu, occupied the third row. Freddie Rahmer, Jr. was in row four, along with Monday’s winner, Justin Peck. Row five featured Buddy Kofoid and Kyle Moody. Ryan Smith and Danny Dietrich were in row six.
Macri was quick down the front stretch, but Marks had the better line in the first turn, He wrestled the lead away from the Concrete Kid. Bell held down the third position, then came McMahan and Larson. Rahmer raced along in sixth, followed by Abreu, Peck, Smith, and Kofoid.
A caution on lap seven almost eliminated the leaders when Jeff Halligan came to a stop unexpectedly in between turns one and two, Marks barely avoided contact, but Bell was not so fortunate. He brushed Halligan and twisted the right rear corner of his top wing inward. That got others jammed up behind Bell, and Peck spun around.
The officials sorted things out, and Marks was positioned on the point for the restart. Macri, Bell, Larson, Rahmer, and McMahan were next in line.
The restart went off without a hitch, but several laps afterwards, there was chaos in turn three. Rahmer spun around and was hit head on by another car. Several cars sustained major damage, including Kofoid, Devon Borden, and Austin Bishop. Bishop was towed to the pits and he was the only racer involved who was able to make repairs and rejoin the race.
Marks took off with the lead again, and it certainly looked as though he would tally his third Speedweek win. Macri held second, but Larson moved ahead of Bell’s wounded car. Larson began to reel in Macri. On lap 22, Larson went under Macri for second and Danny Dietrich, who probably had the fastest car on the track at that stage of the race, moved into third on lap later.
While Marks maintained the lead despite heavy lapped traffic, Larson and Dietrich were putting on quite the show, darting around the slower cars. A key turning point in the race came a few laps later. Just as Dietrich was ready to pounce on Larson in traffic, the caution came out ending his bid for the second spot.
Marks now had Larson on his tail for the final restart. Larson applied the pressure, but he was unable to get by. Larson found some rubber in the low groove, and he put his nose under Marks coming through turns three and four. Marks was unable to keep his car on the bottom and Larson stayed low. He powered off turn four to draw up next to Marks. He executed a hard slider in turn one to take the lead away.
“It was pretty disappointing to get slid at the end,” Marks noted. “I was getting tight in three and four and I thought Kyle was going to slide me down there.” Marks explained that he went low to protect and that he got into some water and slid up, allowing Larson to get inside of him.
Larson kept his car straight and in the rubber for the final eight laps. Meanwhile, Dietrich was trying every move available to get around Marks. However, Marks defended his position well to get the second biggest check of the night, Dietrich was third, with Macri and Moody next.
Abreu, Bell, Lynton Jeffrey, Ryan Taylor, and peck completed the top ten.
Heat wins were scored by Macri, Abreu, and Larson, Taylor took the B Main. The quick time award went to Marks, who turned in an amazing 11.888 second lap. In the heat races, Anthony Fiore crashed in turn one. His crew made repairs in time for the B Main, but he detected a steering problem and did not start. Likewise, Lance Dewease sustained an engine problem in his heat. He pushed off for the B but elected not to start that race.
The companion thirty lapper for the 358 Modified division was outstanding. Ryan Godown muscled his way into the lead in the early going. However, Brett Kressley worked his way into second on lap three. Duane Howard took third on the next lap, and Jeff Strunk assumed fourth on lap seven. Craig Von Dohren moved into fifth on lap twelve.
Godown continued to lead, but the heavy hitters behind him started to close in as the laps wound down. Godown got to lapped traffic first and he was able to use the slower cars on the bottom to maintain his lead as his competitors followed him in the middle groove.
The only caution of the race came on lap 28 when a backmarker spun in turn four.
Godown had the point for the single file restart, with Howard, Strunk, Kressley, and CVD lined up behind him. Godown led the rest of the way, but Strunk charged around Howard to take second on the final lap. Kressley and Von Dohren held their positions.
“I didn’t want to see that caution,” Godown said. “It put all the good guys right on my bumper. I just hit my marks the last two laps.
Sixth went to Kevin Hirthler. Craig Whitmoyer, Mike Gular, Justin Grim, and Jordan Henn completed the top ten.
Heat wins were chalked up by Grimm, Howard, and Hirthler. Doug Manmiller won the B Main.
Michael Norris wins night two of Bill Hendren Memorial at PPMS
IMPERIAL, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Michael Norris doesn’t race every week at Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway but ‘The Crusher Kid’ may want to add a few more visits to dirt’s ‘Monster Half Mile’ in 2022 after winning the feature in night 2 of the ‘Bill Hendren Memorial’.
Norris’ victory was his 2nd straight RUSH Late Model Touring Series win at PPMS and third in four events. Norris also won the ‘Jook George Steel City Classic’ in August and in 2020.
“Kyle (Lukon) got out there and was setting a pretty good pace,” said Norris. “I kind of got in line behind him and didn’t know if I had anything for him in clean air, but I figured once we got to lapped traffic we’d see what we’re both made of.”
Norris made his move on lap 11 and passed Lukon for the lead. Norris masterfully worked lap traffic over the remaining laps to capture the checkered flag and another win in a signature local event.
“It means a lot to win these memorials,” said Norris. “Any memorial means the person was pretty significant and were pioneers in the sport. I appreciate you guys putting this on, and I just love coming here any chance I get- I’ll run lawnmowers around here I don’t care.”
Kyle Hardy, Friday night’s winner, tried chasing down Norris over the final 17-laps but settled for second place and the RUSH Late Model Touring points lead.
“I didn’t have anything for Michael,” said Hardy. “We would have liked to have won tonight, but always have the big picture in the back of our minds. Not a bad weekend at all.”
Joe Martin was third for the second straight night. It was Martin’s fifth straight Tour podium finish, 10th straight top six, and 13th top six in the last 14 events as he maintains runner-up in the standings.
“Bill Hendren Memorial” Night 2 (30 laps, $3200 to-win): 1. MICHAEL NORRIS (51) 2. Kyle Hardy (99) 3. Joe Martin (Snyder 10s) 4. Colton Flinner (Chernik 5x) 5. Daryl Charlier (Centerline 114) 6. Logan Zarin (1z) 7. Levi Crowl (5) 8. Michael Duritsky, Jr. (90J) 9. Jacob Gunn (14G) 10. Garret Paugh (03) 11. Tony Musolino (Dobnak 42) 12. Bud Watson (225) 13. Ray Love, Jr. (08) 14. Zach Gunn (17G) 15. Tom Klein (77) 16. Tom Duratz (55D) 17. Ryan Frazee (11F) 18. Bill Kessler (09) 19. Kassidy Kamicker (72B) 20. Zach Kane (10) 21. Dan Lepro (2L) 22. Kyle Lukon (184) 23. Cole Petrelle (84) 24. Eddie Carrier, Jr. (Lukon 184X).
Non-Qualifier (6 laps, $500 to-win): 1. Philip Bubeck (Tennant 2) 2. Dave Goble (20G). DNS: Nick Love (38), Jeremy Wonderling (3J), Grant Garrison (1), Zach Morrow (Bentz 60), Tim Shaffer (45), Andrew Squatriglia (115).
Macedo Makes History at the Grove
WILLIAMS GROVE, PA (October 2, 2021): Carson Macedo earned his biggest career win in the 59th National Open held at Williams Grove Sppedway. He picked up $75,000, the largest payday ever doled out at the historic venue.
“This is the biggest win of my career,” Macedo said. “This is really cool. When I started coming here, I couldn’t get ahold of this place.” Well, Macedo grabbed control of the race on lap 36 and he did not let go. That was when he made the winning move in turn one, sliding past leader Logan Schuchart. “The lapped cars were holding up Logan. I just drove really hard. I slid across and the wing held me.”
Schuchart, who suffered perhaps the biggest disappointment of his budding career, was philosophical about the outcome. “All in all, two, second place finishes this weekend are pretty good for me. I’ve got a lot of years ahead of me. Carson ran a great race. I thought I could maybe rip the top on him.” But Schuchart’s attempted counter attack never materialized.
Brent Marks had the pole for the 40 lap affair. Schuchart was on his right. Sheldon Haudenschild and David Gravel were in row two. Anthony Macri and Carson Macedo continued the youth movement by starting in row three. Six-time Open champion, Donny Schatz and Justin Peck were in row four. Kasey Kahne and Lance Dewease started in row five, with James McFadden and Brian Brown in the sixth row.
Marks blasted into the lead, followed by Schuchart, Gravel, Macedo, Haudenschild, Macri, and Schatz. Before Marks could build upon his early advantage, a red flag stopped the race after just two laps. Brian Brown spun and collected Daryn Pittman, who turned over from the contact. Freddy Rahmer, Jr. was also involved in the melee. No drivers were injured, but all three were eliminated from the contest.
Marks assumed control again when the race resumed. He began to pull away from Schuchart as the laps clicked off. Marks’ bid for a second win in the Open ended when he got into a lapped car and spun in turn two. He was able to restart the race, but his quest for the victory was over.
That handed the lead to Schuchart. He was able to maintain control for the next twenty-three laps despite a second red flag on lap 12. Robbie Kendall flipped after he tangled with T.J. Stutts between turns one and two. Again, neither driver was hurt, but Kendall was done for the night.
While Schuchart led Macedo, Haudenschild, Macri, and Gravel, the battle was for the sixth spot. Schatz and Dewease were mixing things up until lap 27, when Schatz took the position once and for all.
Schuchart got into traffic and kept his advantage over Macedo. However, in the final ten laps, Macedo began to close on the leader. He made his winning move on lap 35, and led the final four laps. Schuchart made a desperate bid in the final corners, but came up a tad short.
Following Macedo and Schuchart were Haudenschild, Macri, and Gravel. Schatz was sixth. Then came Dewease, Kyle Larson, McFadden, and Brad Sweet.
Macri received a $1,000 bonus for the highest finishing PA Posse driver. Sweet grabbed $559 as the hard charger. He advanced nine positions during the race.
The heat wins were chalked up by Schatz, Macedo, Gravel, and Haudenschild. Dewease set the fast time again, this time topping Group B with a lap of 16.774 seconds. He failed to lock into the dash when Macri swept by him in turn one following a restart with two laps to go in the third heat. The B Main winner was Jacob Allen, and Devon Borden took the checkers in the C Main.
Kyle Hardy wins night one of the ‘Bill Hendren Memorial’ at PPMS
IMPERIAL, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Kyle Hardy picked up his first win at Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway by grabbing the feature victory in night one of the ‘Bill Hendren Memorial’.
“What a race- it was super fun out there,” said Hardy. “I can’t thank my crew to get this car so good to where I could steer across the middle of the race track. What a car we’ve had all year.”
Hardy held off PPMS track Champion Daryl Charlier in a thrilling side-by-side battle for several laps around dirt’s ‘Monster Half Mile’.
“If you had a camera or mirror on me you’d have seen how freaked out I was just trying to get where I needed to be to win this thing,” said Hardy.
The victory was not a surprise as Hardy was the runner up when the RUSH Late Model Touring Series visited PPMS twice earlier this season for the ‘Herb Scott Memorial’ and ‘Jook George Steel City Classic’.
Charlier brought it home in second place and earned $1,500 for his efforts.
“If I’m going to finish second I guess I’ll finish second to Kyle Hardy- he’s the top dog in the crates and especially the RUSH Series,” said Charlier.
RUSH Late Model Touring Series “Bill Hendren Memorial” (30 laps, $3000 to-win): 1. KYLE HARDY (99) 2. Daryl Charlier (Centerline 114) 3. Joe Martin (Snyder 10s) 4. Eddie Carrier, Jr. (Lukon 184X) 5. Jeremy Wonderling (3J) 6. Jacob Gunn (14G) 7. Bud Watson (225) 8. Garret Paugh (03) 9. Logan Zarin (1z) 10. Levi Crowl (5) 11. Ray Love, Jr. (08) 12. Zach Kane (10) 13. Michael Reft (9R) 14. Colton Flinner (Chernik 5x) 15. Michael Duritsky, Jr. (90J) 16. Tony Musolino (Dobnak 42) 17. Zach Gunn (17G) 18. Kyle Lukon (184) 19. Ryan Frazee (11F) 20. Zach Morrow (Bentz 60) 21. Bill Kessler (09) 22. Justin Kann (66) 23. Philip Bubeck (Tennant 2) 24. Tim Shaffer (45).
DNQ: Dan Lepro (2L), Tom Duratz (55D), Grant Garrison (1), Kassidy Kamicker (72B), Tom Klein (77), Rob Coffaro (24), Dave Goble (20G), Nick Love (38), Noah Brunell (31), Zach Crawford (c4), Ben Policz (14B).